Offensive but not a criminal offense: ‘White lives matter’ banner tows the wrong line

June 24 – An off-the-field incident when a plane carrying a banner provocatively declaring ‘White Lives Matter Burnley’ flew over Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium at the start of the fixture between the teams on Monday was not a criminal offence, police have declared.

The incident has been condemned by the authorities, Burnley football club and anti-racist groups and police say  it “caused offence to many people in Lancashire and beyond”.

However, the Chief Superintendent in charge of the investigation said that “after assessing all the information available surrounding this incident we have concluded that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time”.

The plane is believed to have been operated by the firm Air Ads and flew above the stadium moments after players and staff had taken a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Tuesday, Blackpool Airport, where Air Ads is based, announced that it was suspending banner-towing operations with immediate effect.

“We would suggest that other airports should also consider this approach in light of what has happened at Blackpool,” said a statement.

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